On a cold, blustery late fall Sunday afternoon , with a raucous crowd, the Johnston Youth Panther JV football team won the 2022 state championship 8-0 over perennial powerhouse North Smithfield Xpress.
Laylo Harrison, playing with a heavy heart after the recent passing of his cousin, Isaiah Rivas (to whom the game was dedicated to), broke loose on a 25-yard scamper to break a scoreless tie. Harrison then converted the two-point conversion to complete the game's scoring.
Both squads filled the air and sun-splashed afternoon with great plays and hard hitting, much to the delight and cheers of a boisterous Johnston Panther crowd. Max Pilkington, a tough, hard-nosed linebacker came up with some hits and stops, including three quarterback sacks.
Because of strong wind conditions, both teams were faced with tough field position throughout the entire game until Evan Perron hit Jonny Costa with a 40-yard pass to change the momentum of the game.
The Panther victory was a total team effort that showcased an unblemished 11-0 record with a defensive unit that was allowing only six points per contest going into the championship game. After the final whistle sounded, the players, Johnston coaching staff , cheerleaders, team moms and loyal Johnston crowd celebrated with great enthusiasm that rocked North Kingston stadium. The team was awarded the 2022 Junior Varsity State Championship trophy and Harrison received the game ball.
Head Coach Jon Costa praised the efforts of the entire Panther team for their hard work and dedication throughout the season.
Team players/coaches included: Ethan Archambeault, Arnaud Casimir, Michael Chounlamany, Jonny Costa, Adrien Costantini, Joseph Defeo, Grayson Desmarais, Greyson Diogo, Brody Dutilly, Noel Gamez, Lyalo Harrison, Jermaine Johnson, Logan Leblanc, Ricky Levesque, Noah Lopez, Alexander Mancini, Adonijah Martin, Biagio Micheletti, Ryan Morin, Devenyn Nova, Cody Parmentier, James Parris, William Parsons, Evan Perron, Max Pilkington, Enzo Pistacchio, Mason Provoyeur, Lucca Ricci, Hyron Ruffner, Derek Simas, Donovan Tiernan, John Tsonos, Alizer Velez and Luke Ventura. Coaches included Head Coach and assistants Jon Costa, Gary Simas, Bob Dutilly, Phil Morin and Student Coach Alex Morin. Team Moms were: Lauren Perron and Danielle Tiernan.
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